By The Glass
Pali's opening '05 vintage is fine pinot noir
WHILE the name Pali sounds familiar to isle residents, Pali Wine Co. is not growing grapes in Nuuanu. Pali Wine Co. is based in Lompoc, Calif., and got its name from a shortened Pacific Palisades, where the winery partners are based.
It is a partnership of many pinot noir enthusiasts. The owners persuaded Brian Loring of Loring Wine Co. to become their winemaker by getting him a bit inebriated.
Pali sources grapes from Oregon and all over California, and their version of pinot noir expresses the uniqueness of each vineyard site. The 2005 is Pali's first vintage release, a great vintage for pinot noir in California and Oregon.
In general the grapes in 2005 achieved ripeness with lower than usual sugar levels, which means the wines will likely be more elegant and graceful because of the lower alcohol levels. Give this producer a try and keep an eye on it in the future -- it is definitely one of the up-and-coming Santa Barbara pinot producers.
2005 Pali Shea Vineyard, Willamette Valley, Ore. ($45.99): During fermentation, the Shea was the darkest of wines at the Loring winery. Amazing depth and concentration -- the finished wine is very Shea-like, meaning the scent is a bit brighter than normal for an Oregon wine, with bigger and brighter fruit on the palate. Still very Oregon, it shows a deeper black fruit profile than the 2005 California wines, which tend toward red fruit profiles in 2005. The Pali Shea is very elegant, dominated by its spice, and shows a bit of oak now that should integrate nicely during the upcoming year.
2005 PALI INMAN Olivet Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Calif. ($45.99): Kathleen Inman's vineyard sits in a micro-climate that allows the fruit to ripen at relatively lower sugars. The Pali Inman Olivet is more feminine than typical Russian River wines, with a lovely lavender scent. While elegant and balanced, the wine possesses great depth with spicy nuances.
2005 Pali Durell Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, Calif. ($45.99): The Pali Durell shows bright red cherry fruit, which distinguishes it from more coastal vineyards. This is perhaps the most elegant and age-worthy wine in the 2005 vintage. The oak is already beginning to integrate and impart smoky, truffle-like flavors.
2005 Pali Cargasacchi Jalama Vineyard, Santa Barbara County, Calif. ($45.99): This is Peter Cargasacchi's new vineyard, which produces big, Santa Rita Hills-profile wine. The Pali Cargasacchi has really nice forest-floor, anise and smoky oak components that complement the bold and bright fruit.
2005 Pali Turner Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills, Calif. ($45.99): A new vineyard located between the Melville and Babcock vineyards, and just west of the Clos Pepe vineyard -- a great location. The Pali Turner is firm and concentrated with big, bold fruit and Clos Pepe-like spicy nuances. The Pali Turner is deeper than many of the other 2005 wines we've tried, with more dark than red fruits and a long finish.
Jay Kam is president of Vintage Wine Cellar. This column is a weekly lesson in wine pairing written by a rotating panel of wine professionals.
This column is a weekly lesson in wine pairing written by a rotating panel of wine professionals. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org